Introducing: Marisa McDonald Photography

How long have you been in the business?

1 year in business, but I’ve been using a DSLR for 7 years.

Can you tell us about this first picture?

This picture was taken in 2014 about 8 months before I started my photography business. A friend and I were both lamenting that we had not planned ahead for Christmas card pictures so we agreed to meet at the park and take family pictures for each other.

How Far I've Come

 

Now that you are more experienced, when you look at this first picture, what would you say is wrong with it?

The lighting is horrendous! Of course I chose mid-day in the desert (very little shade is available). I was apparently smart enough to look for shade but here it may have done more harm than good, adding to the harsh shadows. At the time of this picture I thought more about what I was putting in the background than what kind of light I had. Unfortunately the background here is not great either and my kit lens’ high aperture means the background is competing with my subjects. The overall quality is also low. Focus is soft and the image is grainy. One of the biggest flaws in this portrait is that I did not capture the connection that this beautiful family has. You can see the dad’s candid connection with one of the boys but the other three appear to be in more of a posed portrait. There is a disconnect and it is not a reflection of the true family…it is a reflection of the photographer I was and the lack of time spent on the portrait.

Can you tell us about this second picture?

This portrait was from a very sweet Father’s Day session – just dad and his kids! I love the beautiful, even, warm light and the natural and beautiful connection captured. A big part of my brand is about showcasing “authentic moments and real connections.” Sometimes I capture more posed images during family sessions to cover my bases but that is rarely what I showcase. I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients before the session and then work with them during the session to draw out those special connections, natural smiles, the moments they will recognize and remember for years to come!

authentic moments

What is one of the biggest things that contributed to your growth as a Photographer?

I had a DSLR for about 6 years before I started my photography business. I was a classic “momtographer”. I took a one-day introduction to DSLRs the second year I had my camera but I didn’t retain much. I also had a few photographer friends who tried to help me along the way. Again, it just didn’t stick. I wasn’t ready. I kept trying to “practice” but I didn’t have a good plan and I wasn’t really willing to dig in to learn what needed to be learned. About a month before starting my business I met a second shooter at a wedding and started chatting a bit. I mentioned that I have a DSLR, but that I didn’t really know how to use it. She urged me to get a 50 1.8, explaining that it was only about $100 and might be the motivation I needed to learn a little more. I took her word for it and she was right! Of course I have now upgraded that nifty fifty but it showed me what was possible and set me down a road of learning that I’m still on! I’ve learned to ask questions and dig in until I learn the next thing I need to know to take my photography to the next level.

Thank you for sharing, Marisa! Beautiful improvement.

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